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Assault Weapons Ban

Series/Special. A man whose son was killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings testifies to a Senate panel. New.

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U.s. 21, Us 20, Philadelphia 16, Colorado 13, America 13, Feinstein 9, Tucson 9, Arizona 8, Mr. Walsh 7, Heller 7, United States 6, Newtown 6, California 6, Aurora 6, Blumenthal 6, Virginia 4, Connecticut 4, Australia 4, Florida 4, Madam 3,
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  CSPAN    Assault Weapons Ban    Series/Special. A man whose son was killed in the Newtown,  
   Conn., school shootings testifies to a Senate panel. New.  

    March 2, 2013
    12:50 - 4:15pm EST  

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american people. so i think that as long as i'm attorney general, that will be the way in which this justice department will conduct itself. and i want to thank you all for the great assistance and support that you've given us over the years. >> general mills from maine. >> thank you, general holder. over here. mills, maine. could you please comment on the prospects for continued funding through the byrne grants for drug enforcement and drug prosecution and other criminal justice measures. >> it's interesting. whatse i'm going to see o.m.b. has sent back to us this afternoon about -- for our
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budget for next year. so i will be in a better position to answer that question at that point. but i think one of the things we have to look at is this whole question of sequestration. i hope -- i think we're going to have a healthy byrne component in our budget. but under this sequestration issue, we're not going to have the ability, the capacity to do all that we want to do with byrne jag. and one of the things that's going to be hit in the justice department's budget is our grant making ability. when we look at where cuts have to come and these cuts are not ones where i'm given any flexibility. these are cuts that are just kind of mandated by statute. they're using meat cleaver to say you can't do this and as we look at the legislation, our ability to share funds with our partners to support things that we have supported for years is really going to be impacted. and that's why this sequestration thing has really got to be worked out. it's going to have an impact on law enforcement. we're going to be looking at f.b.i. agents, d.e.a. agents,
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a.t.f. agents who are going to be furloughed and federal prosecutors who are not going to be working with you all on task forces and bringing cases. there are a whole variety of things that are going to happen as a result of sequestration. and that's why i called on in my prepared remarks for congress to resolve this as quickly as possible. >> america's day begins in guam and our questions will attendant with attorney general capadas. >> and we have been talking about your visit to the war museum there and still remember how long you stayed there and appreciated your visit. and spending some money, i think. >> not to have a commercial. but if you are in guam or in the south pacific, it is something to see this world war ii museum. it is something that is -- it's technologically done but extremely moving and informative place. it's really something to see. >> and kind after follow-on to maine's questions, the volcker grants, and i think how the department of justice allocates these cuts, should they happen. it's going to be very important. so obviously make a push to not
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allocate -- not just have a smaller allocation of cuts. those grants. >> limited flexibility in -- under sequestration. we'll do the best we can to minimize the harm that actually occurs as a result of the sequestration. but the reality is it's going to be harm. there is going to be pain. and the american people are going to be less safe. that is just a fundamental reality that people have got to get -- got to get their heads around. it's not going to be something that's going to happen suddenly. the president was saying yesterday. but over time, in a relatively small amount of time, we are talking over the course of weeks the capacity that we have in the justice department is going to be significantly weakened. >> thank you again. we will reconvene at 11:15 with the comptroller currency and the director of the consumer financial protection bureau and once again please thank the attorney general for his time and effort. \[applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> the new chairman of the energy and national resources committee. he talks about energy policy, fossil fuels, and his priorities. >> are statutes have not kept up with the times. the last major energy bill was before the natural gas revolution that in 2007. i do think we ought to have a thorough review and looking at some different areas. the tradition in the energy committee has always been to focus on the production side. we still will do that. i loved everything i can to put a new focus on consumers and the prices consumers and businesses pay in gasoline prices are almost $4. this time of year they are way above the increase we would be seeing. i do not think there is any
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reasonable explanation. >> do you have any plans to hold a hearing? >> i have talked to senator rakowski about that. we are going to hold a hearing on gas prices. >> what would that hearing consist of? >> you have to question what is going on, making the prices go up so dramatically now. the custom has always been a tradition, the prices go up in the spring. we're trying to look at the history on this. in the last month that people have seen about in quite some time. they have lots of gas price increases. there is no reasonable explanation for this right now. the iranians are not running around in the straits government. we have not seen any kind of unusual development.
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that is what i want to look at a whole host of issues and one has been the question of refineries. >> you must entire interview with senator ron wyden tamara at 10:00 and 6:00 p.m. eastern. -- tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern. >> john side that had to write a paragraph that said people are asking what happened to charlie. when he says "we" it is -- somebody must have said where is charley? he wrote about a page and a half of legal tablet same people have asked what happened to charley. when my lady barrett joins me, he took a third position in the family thing. he is fine.
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that never appeared in the book. the editors went in and expansion elaine entirely from the west coast. 30 days of her on the west cost. >> john steinbeck did some liberties with the truth and travels that it cannot be classified as nonfiction. more with the author sunday at 8:00. >> and now a hearing on reducing gun violence. dianne feinstein's proposal to ban assault weapons. they hear testimony from the father of the victim of the newtown shooting. senator feinstein chairs this hearing of the judiciary committee. it is about a report by hours.
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>> i am going to call this hearing to order. i want to begin by welcoming our witnesses and also the people who are interested in this subject and have taken the time to be here. it is very much appreciated. the process will be this -- i will make a statement. senator grassley will make a statement. we will then go to our first two witnesses and then the second panel. we will ask witnesses to confine the remarks as much as they can to five minutes or so. the committee will follow the early bird rule, which is first come. we will call on them first to ask questions. afterwards, in five-minute rounds. i will begin with my statement. on december 14, 26 parents received a called no parent ever wants to receive. they would never see their son
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or daughter again. earlier that day, a deranged killer wielding an assault weapon and armed with a high- capacity ammunition magazine, he shot his way into the sandy hook elementary school in newtown. he unleashed a rapid hail of bullets. he killed 20 young children, mostly six-year-olds, and six brave administrators in a handful of minutes that it took for law enforcement to respond to the scene. that event shocked the nation to its roots. the pictures of these little victims brought tears to the eyes of millions of americans. we're holding today's hearing because the massacre in newtown was sadly not an anomaly. from the 1966 shooting rampage at the university of texas to the newtown massacre, we have witnessed an increasing number
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of these mass killings. since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the united states. they have been accelerating in recent years. 7 took place in 2012. running through these mass shootings in recent years, from aurora, colorado, to tucson, arizona, to blacksburg, virginia, it was that military- style semi automatic weapons or a large capacity ammunition magazine that committed unspeakable terror. we have witnessed today victims -- we have with us today victim's of the shootings in newtown, aurora, and virginia
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tech. with the victims of gun violence in this room, please stand for a moment in this room. thank you. we appreciate it. we also have with us a law- enforcement officers from around the country who had traveled here to support our efforts to ban these military style assault weapons, including the chief of police from arizona, northridge, california, colorado, georgia, illinois, massachusetts, baltimore, maryland, new orleans, oklahoma, oregon, pennsylvania, virginia, the university of central florida, and of dickinson and nathaniel colleges, and the leaders of the state police in new york and rhode island. with these and other law enforcement officers here today please stand and be recognized.
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thank you very much. we cannot allow the carnage i have described to continue without taking action on what is a serious matter of public policy. that is why i have joined with many of my colleagues. senator schumer, senator durbin, senator whitehouse, senator blumenthal, as well as many others off the committee introduced legislation to prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of assault weapons and high- capacity magazines. as the members of this committee know, we in acted a ban on assault weapons and high- capacity magazines, which i authored in the senate and senator schumer sponsored in the house in 1994.
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unfortunately, that law had a 10 year life. congress failed to renew it when it expired in 2004. since the ban expired, many people have been killed with assault weapons. over 450 have been wounded. they're more lethal today than they were in 2004. let me give you an example. you can watch this on the screen. you can buy a bump fire stock legally. you insert it into an ar-15 or other assault rifle. this is legal. it is not cosmetic. it allows a semi automatic firearm to be fired quickly as a fully automatic shotgun -- excuse me, machine gun -- which has been banned for decades.
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there is the slide. [bang] [bang] [bang] [bang] [bang] [bang, bang, bang, bang] >> you can see the slide working as it mimics an automatic weapon. it has the versatility for the high fire rates. [bang, bang, bang, bang] that is legal today.
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since the newtown massacre, several states, including california -- [bang, bang, bang, bang] since the newtown massacre, several states, including california, delaware, maryland, and new york have shown leadership in moving to ban assault weapons or strengthen existing bans. even so, the need for a common ban has never been greater. the california law enforcement tells me that some criminals continue to acquire the guns from neighboring states like arizona, where they are unregulated. in the last 10 years, 9% of the
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crime guns in the city of chicago could be traced to the state of mississippi. it is clear that we need a national solution. let me describe briefly that key features of this new legislation of assault weapons ban a 2013. the bill and the sale, transfer, and importation and manufacturing of 167 specifically named semi automatic assault weapons. it bans any other assault weapon, which is defined as semi automatic that can have a detachable magazine. these features were developed for military weapons to make them more affective and efficient at killing people in close combat situations. the bill prohibits large
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capacity ammunition devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds. this is a crucial part of this legislation. these large magazines make a gun especially dangerous because they allow a shooter to fire 100 rounds are more without having to pause to reload. in many instances like the tragic shooting of congresswoman gabrielle giffords and tucson, arizona, it was only when the shooter had to change a magazine when or others have the chance to take the shooter down. the bill protects the rights of legitimate gun owners. it will not affect hunting or sporting firearms. the bill protects legitimate hunters by specifically excluding over 2000 specificly named by make and model firearms used for hunting or sporting purposes.
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second, the bill will not take away any weapons that are owned today. anyone who says otherwise is simply trying to deceive you. finally, it would ban the future sale or transfer of these magazines, including the manufacturing, implementation, or possession. let me address for a moment the charge that the assault weapons ban such as this are unconstitutional. the original federal assault weapons ban and it was challenged repeatedly on every grounds the opponents to come up with, including the second amendment, the ninth amendment, the commerce clause, the due process clause, equal
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protection, and being a bill of the chamber. each and every time these challenges were rejected and the ban was upheld, including by the fourth, 6, 9, and d.c. circuit. the supreme court subsequently recognizes the individual rights to gun ownership in the district of columbia. however, that decision clearly stated, "the right secured by the second amendment is not unlimited." justice scalia, the author of that opinion, wrote that quote. state assault weapons bans in california and the district of columbia have been upheld as consistent with the second amendment in people v james and
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howard the district of columbia. the assault weapons ban of 2013 has received the endorsement of major law enforcement organizations, including major the major cities chief of police. i'm please that this legislation is endorsed by the conference of mayors, mayors for gun control, and other groups of officials. without objection, i will place the list of endorsements on the record. i yield to senator grassley for his opening remarks. >> i ask for the committee's approval for my remarks. >> so ordered. >> madam chairwoman, thank you for holding today's hearings. the tragedy at the newtown has
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caused all of us to ask, what has happened in our society to bring about that tragedy and a lot of other similar tragedies? we are shocked and horrified by the murder of innocent children. we sympathize with the victims and their families. from one of our witnesses today, i want to express my personal and deep sympathies for your loss and your neighbors. thank you for sharing your pain. we do not want anything like this to happen again. we want to take effective action to prevent future catastrophes. we can make the world safer for people on the streets, safer for children in schools.
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society has become less civil. videogames ought to be a deep concern. health services are not always up to par. we have heard testimony that hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people in arizona, people who are not legally allowed to own weapons, have not been provided for inclusion in that database. an incomplete database that fails to conform to existing law does not provide all of the safety that american people have a right to expect. existing prohibitions on gun possessions are not enforced as much as they should be. there is much that can be done to enhance safety. i respect senator feinstein's
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view on this issue. i know that your views are very sincere. the interest that you have in banning assault weapons is a very consistent decision you have taken over the past years. i happen to have a different view. some guns are based on their features. others have nothing to do with the functioning of the weapons. as a result, the bill would inflect less severe wounds than others that are exempt. such arbitrary distinctions in the fact that these weapons are commonly used her self-defense raise constitutional questions under the second amendment. there are occasions when people think congress should pass a new law.
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the idea is that supporters can be might have a solution to a problem. this is not the case with assault weapons ban. congress passed such a law in 1994. it was on the books for 10 years. at the end of those 10 years, the university of pennsylvania researchers concluded that, "they cannot credit the ban with any of that nation's recent drops in gun violence." the study of the center of disease control and the national research council also not determine the effectiveness of the ban. "a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on homicide."
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a justice official wrote in the same document that because theft and straw purchasers are the largest source of crime guns, universal background checks would likely shift defenders theft and straw purchases. the assault weapons ban did not prevent the earlier school shooting at columbine. officer young, as a child, survived a shooting and california. students were shot. when something has been tried
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and not found to work, we should try a new approach. there are vast numbers of gun control laws in the country. criminals do not obey them. law-abiding citizens do. that tips the scale in favor of criminals who use guns. if weapons bans were effective, homicide rates would be down. law enforcement is poorly enforcing current gun laws. in fact, the u.s. attorney's office for the northern district of illinois, only 25
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federal firearms cases were brought to that office in 2011. only 1% of the people, 62 out of over 4000 were denied guns based on background checks are prosecuted for illegally attempting to acquire firearms. that is too low of a rate. see what can be done by enforcing the law on the books before enforcing new ones. we will legislate in an area that deals with the issue of reporting to the database for the people who are not in there now. make sure that we deal with the mental health issues that are involved with the tragedies that we are talking about today and a lot of other tragedies that have happened. thank you.
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>> thank you, senator. will the witnesses please stand? affirm the oath as i complete the reading. do you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> thank you. i will introduce the two witnesses from this panel. the first is john walsh, u.s. attorney. he has served for u.s. attorney in colorado since august of 2010 after he was unanimously confirmed by the senate. as u.s. attorney, he is responsible for supervising and coordinating the federal investigation of the mass shootings at a movie theater in aurora, colorado. as is becoming u.s. attorney, dash before becoming u.s. attorney, mr. walsh was a member of a law firm and partner in a law firm.
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early in his career, he served as chief of the major fraud section of the u.s. attorney office in los angeles, supervising 35 assistants, u.s. attorneys, prosecuting white- collar offenses. i will also introduce chief edward flynn. he has a long career of leadership in public safety. he has been the chief of the milwaukee police department since 2008. he commands an agency of 2000 sworn in officers and 700 civilians. previously he served as secretary of public safety in massachusetts under governor mitt romney. he oversaw the massachusetts state police and the department of corrections. he has also served as chief of police in springfield and chelsea, massachusetts, and in arlington, virginia. he is a member of the police
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executive research forum. he is a member of harvard, connecticut school of policing. if the two of you will go ahead. keep the remarks to five minutes so there is an opportunity for questioning. >> [inaudible] >> could you activate the mike? there is a button right there. >> it is a privilege to present the views of the department of justice on the need to protect american public by eliminating -- reasonable limitations on these weapons are supported by a majority of americans. the department does not yet have a decision on any particular legislation in this
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area, we are confident the ban to be implemented in a way that protects the public without inter-hearing with the rights of law-abiding citizens. on behalf of the department of justice, thank you, senator feinstein, for your efforts to address the plague of gun violence in our country. colorado has a history in frontier positions of gun ownership and respect to the second amendment. at the same time, colorado residents have witnessed gun tragedy on a scale we never could have imagined. it has been shaken by this senseless mass shooting at the colombo and in 1999 and the most recent in our aurora in 2012. also, the chilling event in tucson, arizona, newtown, and other communities. these events remind us that individuals who are intent on inflicting mass casualties have ready access to the tools that they need to inflict maximum
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damage in a matter of moments, even seconds. military-style weapons can hold 20, 30, or 100 rounds of magazines. these are properly subject to reasonable legislation under the second amendment. as a longtime federal prosecutor and now sitting u.s. attorney, shutting off the flow of high-capacity magazines is a top safety priority. it has to be coupled with other measures. continue aggressive enforcement of existing firearms laws, new laws every car universal background checks on private firearm transfers, enhance background checks on those who are properly prohibited from acquiring weapons, such as
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people with felonies or domestic violence or mental illness. the power and the rate of fire and deficiencies of these fires are the reasons that they have become weapons of choice for gangs and drug trafficking organizations. we also must eliminate the ability of shooters to inflict massive numbers of fatalities in a matter of minutes through the use of high-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. it can turn any weapon into a true will of massive violence, even a handgun. the shootings at virginia tech, tucson, arizona, all involved handguns using magazines with more than 10 rounds. high-capacity high-capacity magazines is not required for defending one's home or sports
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shooting. it enables shooters to inflict maximum damage on humans. forcing such a person to stop and reload can save lives. that was the case in tucson, arizona when a 30-round magazine ran out and he had to reload. he was tackled. i go to bed every night wondering whether i will be awakened by another dawn call which notified me of the horrifying mass shooting in aurora, or whether i will receive calls from other u.s. attorneys from around the country confronting the same sort of event in their own home state. i'm proud to serve as a u.s. attorney for colorado. it is the state i grew up in. it proudly honors american institutions, including the ownership of firearms as
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guaranteed by the second amendment. i also share the view of most law enforcement professionals and ordinary americans that there should be reasonable proposals to restrict the sale of military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. it is needed to protect the american people. i urge the committee to act. thank you. >> thank you. chief flynn. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify today. the international association of the chief of police, major city chiefs associations, all have proposals regarding firearms violence general and assault weapons. as an act of member of these organizations, it takes collective wisdom of the chief law enforcement executives in the country. i have been an officer for many years. i have had the opportunity to
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lead law enforcement agencies in three states for the past 25 years. among the most difficult challenges i continue to face is the firearms violence that occurs in our neighborhoods. assault weapons are not built for sports. assault weapons are built to inflict violence against humans. it is not cosmetic in nature. these weapons are designed for combat. they are designed do it quickly and efficiently. in 2012, milwaukee police officers investigated 435 nonfatal shootings. we confirm that rifles were used in 185 crimes in the last year. in 2010, we uncovered assault rifles from the streets of milwaukee. in 2011, firearms were the number one cause of death of police officers killed in the line of duty. seven of my officers were shot with assault rifles or semi-
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automatic pistols. the mass murders we hear about are horrifying. we must recognize that our nation's it is our enduring slow mass murders every single year. in 2008 in the city of milwaukee, three suspects fired into a crowd of 100. two of the suspects shot bullets, leaving four people dead in the street. a 12-year-old girl was playing in front of her house when shots were fired from a semi- automatic pistol. a few weeks ago, criminals fired high caliber rounds into a duplex. the rounds penetrated the interior walls, furniture, and
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a seven-year-old child. the notion that innocent, law- abiding citizens will use an assault weapon for high- capacity firearms to protect themselves is not out of experience. the victims of such homicides in the walkie are typically career criminals. a percentage of suspects and 82% of victims have criminal history. our experience indicates that a vast majority of our home invasion victims are drug dealers. they do not need semi automatic rifles to protect themselves. this second amendment, like every constitutional right, is subject to reasonable restrictions and regulations. in 2008, the supreme court ruled that the second amendment protects an individual's right to own a firearm. the right secured by the second amendment is not unlimited. our system is designed to
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protect individual rights and the rights of the communities. this is not an impossible feat. these are not mutually exclusive rights. we have an obligation to protect both. this does not take guns out of the hands of americans. it does not strip them of their rights. it has more to do with commerce than the second amendment. a lot of people make a lot of money selling firearms and ammunition. it can tempt us to search for and grab onto false logic. the build being discussed today is as reasonable restrictions on future sales of certain types of firearms and magazines. it recognizes the distinction between hunting rifles and assault weapons. it allows for the sale and transfer of grandfathered weapons after a commonsense background check is completed.
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it prevents the preventable. it is time for congress to pick a side. this time i hope it is law enforcement. >> thank you, chief. for questions, i have one question. this question is on columbine. i would like to ask it of that u.s. attorney is in here today. two students were murdered, mr. walsh. excuse me, two students murdered and her team were injured. the gun man used an assault pistol. it would be banned by this legislation. the national rifle association has said the solution is to have armed security guards at every school. as you may know, there were two armed deputy sheriffs at columbine. did they succeed at stopping the tragedy?
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did they try? what happened? >> with respect to columbine, obviously the armed guards who were present that they were not able to prevent the terrible tragedy that took place. i would note that the president's proposal of important gun control and gun violence control initiatives does include a portion that gives local schools the option and the hopefully the funding to have community resource officers present in the school. that is something that individual schools might choose. it is fair to say that our experience is that armed guards is not sufficient to prevent the kinds of things we have seen. >> thank you. chief, could you comment on that as well? >> having armed security president is essential, but there are no guarantees. especially for cities like
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milwaukee. we have a hard enough time keeping the police department the strength it is in. i do not know who will pay for the armed guards. perhaps someone will come up with a grant program to do it. it is an extraordinary cost and it is no guarantee. if they are around the wrong corner, violence can break out. i have an armed guard in a school picking up a fist fight between two sophomores. every piece of security we engage in can be helpful, but it is foolish to think that a link security is what we need. the great challenge is to prevent the tragedies. and prevention is making it difficult for people to outgun the police. make it difficult for people to bring assault weapons to school.
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that should not be easy. any amount of armed guards will be outgunned by someone who is armed with an assault weapon. if we ignore doing something about weapons that enable people to slaughter folks many a time, we are not dealing with the root of the problem. >> thank you. senator grassley. >> thank you each of you for your testimony. i want to start with mr. walsh. the last u.s. attorney to testify before the constitution subcommittee stated that the department supported assault weapons legislation "and we'll work to ensure that whatever comes out, it is constitutional." the committee is set to mark up
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a bill tomorrow. what has the department done in the interim to work with senator feinstein to ensure that legislation is constitutional and has the department conducted any formal review of the constitutionality of the bill? >> if i could start off, the department strongly supports the goals of senator feinstein's bill to enact in assault weapons ban and high- capacity magazines. it can be crafted and the affected and applies with the second amendment. as i sit here today, there have been communications back and forth. they can assist in working through the provisions. i'm not aware of a formal opinion of the constitutional of the proposal that is before the committee at this time.
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>> when he testified before the subcommittee, he said that he was "not familiar enough with theheller opinion to give an opinion." i hope you are more prepared than he was. have you read heller? and you tell us what level of scrutiny that is most the supreme court decision would apply to an assault weapons ban? >> first of all, i have read the heller opinion. i want to be careful. the department has not issued a formal opinion on the constitutionality of that particular legislation. having said that, the important thing to keep in mind for the is the three-part threshold
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that justice scalia and the heller opinion articulate. whether the weapon is a dangerous and unusual weapon of the kind that is traditionally been regulated and accepted. finally, whether the legislation under consideration in some manner impacts the core of the second amendment right, and that is the self defense right. look at each of those three threshold. it is fair to say that an assault weapons ban can be crafted successfully. it is something that i am certain that we will continue to work with the committee and senator feinstein in the course of this.
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i have great confidence that we can come up with effective bans that do not infringe on those rights. >> to this point, you do not know if this legislation meets that? >> we are confident we will be able to craft specific legislation that does comply. i'm certain that the president would not sign a bill that he did not believe was in accordance with -- >> the ar-15 is in common use. over 4 million are in use today. >> there are quite a few ar- 15's used today. you could have a discussion on whether it is a common weapon these days. that is an issue that has to be
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discussed down the road. >> let's look at it from another standpoint. is it dangerous and unusual? >> it is dangerous. the concern of the department's on this is that it is very dangerous. >> how about the level of scrutiny that we are applying to the limitation of high magazine capacity? >> it is the same three-part test. it focuses on the unusual component first. when you see a magazine of the size we have seen in many mass shootings -- the 100 round magazine that was used in aurora of july 2012, it is difficult to see how anyone could believe that is not a dangerous device when coupled with an assault weapon like an
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ar-15. i went to be careful about this and only speak to what is in the public record. there is a pending criminal prosecution. what we saw in aurora is that in the short amount of time in which the shooter was shooting, 12 people died. 10 died from wounds inflicted from the assault weapon. one died from shotgun wounds and one was hit. the dangers of a high-capacity 100 round clip is hard to deny. >> thank you. senator durbin. >> thank you. let me start by thanking you. you have been under a lot of heat for your leadership on this issue for a long time.
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we have endured so many tragedies. newtown is the most recent. it is an indication that your early inclination toward restricting and regulating the use of these weapons was certainly necessary to keep america safe. let me address mr. walsh for a moment. it is clear in the heller decision that what the court found to be the core purpose of the second amendment was individual self-defense. restrictions in heller on high- capacity magazines of assault weapons do not effectively disarm individuals is essentially affect their ability to defend themselves. the second amendment does not prevent lawmakers from enacting reasonable regulations that do not interfere with the core right guaranteed by the
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constitution. it comes to this point -- that man stood in that theater in aurora, colorado, using magazine capacity of 100 rounds and using this assault weapon to kill as many people as possible. fortunately, it jammed. as i understand it, it stopped him from his brutal purpose. i guess the question that is raised is whether are not it is constitutionally protected right under the second amendment for someone to own and use a gun with a capacity to kill. what is your conclusion? >> i may have been careful to ensure that we are taking into account the decisions in heller and mcdonald by the supreme court. in addressing those two cases
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and looking at the scope of the retractions afforded by the second amendment, there clearly is room for reasonable regulation, particularly dangerous and unusual weapons. it is fair to say that the department believes that limitations on high-capacity magazines, anything over 10 rounds would be constitutional based on that amount. >> let me ask you this second part. you have gone through tragedy after tragedy in the city of chicago with gun violence. i have met with many families. i cannot tell you how many. they have lost innocent children to gun violence. there have been some sense of it continuing. it troubles and angers me. especially when these are
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dismissed as a failure of law enforcement. there are adequate laws in the books. enforce the laws. these things would not happen. take the issue of straw purchasing. how many federal prosecutions there were of a legend straw purchasers? how many prosecutions were there, both state, local, and federal? in many instances, federal prosecutors and state prosecutors are saying, you have a better chance to convict at the state level with a more meaningful penalty. let me bring that back home to you, the u.s. attorney office. when there is a potential prosecution for an obvious straw purchaser, what goes through your mind? >> if i may, i would like to emphasize something that you commented on. our work has to be in close corporation with states and local police and state and local prosecutors as well.
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we need to work as a team. we have gun violence. that gives us opportunity to choose in cooperation to decide where the charges are best brought and a meaningful sentence might be sound. in the spring of 2011, in aurora by coincidence, there were officer shootings. there was great concern that we were about to embark on a summer of violence, so to speak. with other chiefs in the metropolitan areas, we convened a group of law enforcement folks, atf included, and enacted a summer initiative aimed at aggressively reaching out and arresting felons and other criminals who were
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attempting to get the guns or were trying to buy them. there were a total of 85 criminal prosecutions and convictions. they were a mix. there were a substantial number that we took stateside, so to speak. that was the most effective way to approach the case in a particular area. to go to your question about trafficking, part of the difficulty we had and part of the reason we have asked the committee to consider and the president has proposed a stronger gun trafficking law, is that we are currently basically trying to prosecute those under u.s. code 92286. those cases are difficult. many times, a judge or a jury may see that kind of prosecution as more of a paperwork violation rather than something that really indicates public safety. for those reasons, we need to assess, and the career
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prosecutors that are making these decisions often say we need to find some other way to take this particular thing off the street. >> let me just say in conclusion, yours is the second testimony under oath with in the last several weeks that has said exactly the same thing, that this is a shared responsibility of prosecution. i wish those who were criticizing what was going on in many states, with at least take notice of the fact there are prosecution efforts underway that are not assisted by the fact that many of our laws on the federal level are too weak when it comes to this. >> i could not agree more. i think we should get on record and make our respective cases. there is no doubt senator
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feinstein is very sincere. i do not know what to say other than that i am sorry. we will have a discussion about this topic and in light of the world as it is rather than how we would like it to be. how many crimes are committed with rifles in terms of homicide in the united states? what percentage? >> senator, i know it is a small fraction. >> in 2011, it was twice as many people killed with their hands. how many prosecutions have you taken upon yourself? how many prosecutions have you
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taken up for failing a background check since you have been u.s. attorney? >> i am not aware of any of the top of my head. >> i want to put into record the federal background check form, it says up top you are subject to prosecution if you provide false information. how many cases have you referred to state prosecutions? >> i do not have a specific number on that. if i may, i think it is important to recognize where our focus is. is on prosecuting. >> clearly it is not on prosecuting people who fail background checks. if you have not done any, how could you not agree? >> i do not agree. >> the point is if you are going to fail background checks, we ought to start forcing the lot that is on the book because
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almost 80,000 people fill the background check and 44,000 people are prosecuted, what kind of deterrent is that? the law is of italy -- obviously not seen as that important if it is just such an important issue, why are we prosecuting people who fail a background check? there are 15 questions not hard to understand. i am a bit frustrated we would say one thing, how important it is, and in the real world, we do nothing to enforce the laws on the book. >> for the record, from my point of view -- it does not matter, it is a paper-thin. >> i ask the questions. >> i want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. that is what a background check does. [applause] >> how many?
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how many cases? >> if you would withhold for just one moment, please. no expressions one way or another. let's keep this simple. senator gramm and i just got recognized for civility so i know he will keep it simple. >> being civil and confirming convictions are not inconsistent here i admire what you do. it is a dangerous job. has your budget gone down in the last year? >> it has been funded by the city in a great expense. i think is just a reality. i want americans to know what this police chief is facing, almost every other police chief is facing. less money. how many cases have you made for somebody violating a background check. >> we do not make those cases, senator. we make 2000 gun cases a year.
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that is our priority. we are trying to prevent the wrong people buying guns. that is why we do background checks. if you think i will do a paper chase, then you think i will miss use my resources. >> i am asking you a question about how the law works today. you have made no cases because you say it is not within your belly with. how many cases have you turned over to prosecutor at the state level that you know of? >> we all know the answers to these questions. they are self and prepared we do not chase paper. we chase armed criminals. >> the point is if we do not want the wrong people to own guns, which we all agree come then the one way to do that is to take the system that is supposed to distinguish between the person who should and should not to enforce it, out. i pass the background check. is it not really about who has
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begun sometimes more than the gun itself? the point i am trying to make is if there are 4 million ar-15 is in this country owned by people like me, i think the argument would be in it is in common use. you may not understand why i want to own an are 15 and i'm not understand what movies you want to watch, but we are talking about trying to solve a problem that has a central core that people who are committing these crimes should never have any guns or one bullet. that is what we all agree on. the best way to prevent crazy people, mentally unstable people from getting a weapon is to identify them somehow before the murders somebody or try to buy one. i will end on this note. in south carolina, i have got parents here.
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a lady went into ashley hall with a 22 automatic pistol -- and thank god the gun did not function -- who passed a background check at the federal level. who has been adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity of trying to kill the president of the united states. we need to change our laws and i would argue the law is fundamentally broken when almost no one gets prosecuted. if you can pass a background check, having been the adjudicated mentally insane by the federal court, we should start by fixing the laws we have rather than expanding them and creating a false sense of security. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. thank you for your longstanding passion and commitment on this issue. a passionate commitment well- founded in your own experience. i would supplement what my
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friend, senator gramm, said, by saying we can boast cleanup the existing laws and background checks and take necessary steps to make sure truly dangerous and unusual weapons are out of the hands of those who intend to do terrible harm to their fellow citizens. in the context of that, this is our second hearing. in the last hearing, an array of witnesses from both sides appeared. i was struck one of the republican witnesses who was testifying contrary to legislation conceded that these large capacity magazines do not fall within the heller description. i think we are on very safe ground, constitutionally, addressing the type of capacity
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magazines. it is important that people understand what a difference it makes when somebody undertakes a commitment and they have the additional capacity for evil and harm as a result of the initial capacity in those magazines. mr. walsh, you have obviously look very closely at the facts of what took place in aurora. i suspect you also look at the facts of some of the cases that did not occur in your jurisdiction. to the extent you can do so, while staying within the public record, could you describe for us the events that took place in that movie theater and what
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you think might have been different if that weapon had not existed. in your case and if you have information to share in other cases? >> i want to touch on three different instances of mass shooting where i think a high- capacity magazine had tragic consequences. i do need to be careful in discussing the theater shooting. in that shooting, a matter of public record is the shooting resulted in 12 dead and 58 wounded and it took place within the scope of 90 seconds. the fact that there were high- capacity magazines in play
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during that time was obviously material. in the newtown shooting, the information i have is all of the shooting took place in less than four minutes. again, in that case, high- capacity magazines were used. in the tucson, arizona shooting, there were high- capacity magazines. was after a 30 round magazine was expended by the shooter that really heroic people tackled him to stop the shooting. there is evidence to suggest in that situation lives would have been saved. this happened very quickly. there is no way we are going to prevent people from engaging in these sorts of the tax completely. we do not have a crystal ball
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that enables us to see into the mind of people who might be spent on this kind of horror. what we can do by limiting and banning high-capacity magazines is we could limit the damage and tragedy and horrific casualties that those people cause when they undertake those sorts of actions. >> my final question. when you consider the amount of damage done in narrow time frames, 90 seconds or four minutes, how realistic do you believe adding armed guards to schools to intervene in such a sudden and deadly attack? >> i do not want to rule out the potential value a local school board might put on having an armed guard. there are situations you can imagine it could be of assistance. it is hard to see they will
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solve the problem. it is worth mentioning the schools are the most horrible example of where mass shootings take place. they are not the only places. >> thank you. >> thank you. let me read the list, according to our rules. i know senator blumenthal was the first in the room. the staff is telling me that is not early bird. you have to be here at the same time the testimony begins.
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>> no apology necessary. i am here for the duration. >> good. thank you. senator, you are up next. >> for the witnesses of the other families that have been affected by the gun violence, you have our sympathy and the desire to find some way to mitigate violence in our society. we are interested in what would work. first of all, we appreciate your services asking u.s. attorney. would you define what an assault weapon is? >> from the point of view of the department, there are a couple critical considerations. i realize the legislation
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includes a very elaborate definition of particular aspects of assault weapons that would qualify them for an assault weapons ban. i do not mean to comment on those specifically. i want to focus on some of the most important attributes. we were talking about a weapon that is a rifle and has a high muzzle velocity. second, they are capable of a high rate of fire. they are also capable of excepting a very high-capacity magazine. there are other features i know were covered in the bill, a threaded barrel, a grenade launcher attachment is included. those things had some effect on the weapon. the three points i made to you that make the weapons the most
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dangerous were when i mentioned. >> under this legislation, were it to pass, none of the current assault weapons and people's possessions would not be affected? >> that is correct. >> do you know how many there are? >> i have seen various estimates. the numbers being discussed in this hearing were 4 million. i have seen 3.5. in that range. >> they would be prohibited that woods and they still would be in the possession of american citizens. >> that is correct.
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the fact that we cannot completely addressed this issue immediately does not mean that over time, a ban on new weapons coming into the stream of commerce will not have the effect of improving the safety of the american people. >> there is a lot of debate within the department of justice whether the previous assault weapons ban had any impact whatsoever. i will quote from part of the 1997 bank of japan study. the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude there was any meaningful effect, that the effect was different from zero. if we are interested in what will solve the problem of gun violence in america, i think we would want to do something that is not tokenism or symbolic, we would want to do something to figure out how to solve the problem, if we can. could you identify any of the recent tragedies we have seen
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where those tragedies would have been averted if this legislation would have been in effect? >> i cannot tell you they would have been 100% totally averted. i can tell you with some confidence the casualty level would have been lower if the perpetrators did not have the kind of high-capacity magazines they possess and the kind of assault weapons that were used. if i may go back to your earlier point, on the question of the effectiveness of the 1994 assault weapons ban, part of the difficulty is the band has not
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been adequately studied. the conclusions you were referring to, which accurately depict some of the more recent conclusions are as a result of not having the data necessary to fully analyze the results. there were a couple things that came out that are very important and would strongly support a new assault weapons ban. >> if you will permit me, hopefully we can continue the conversation. here is the quandary i find myself in. the department of justice's record of actually enforcing current gun laws is abysmal. people lie on background checks and are not being prosecuted. out of 76,000 denied background checks, the fbi referred to the bureau of alcohol and tobacco
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and firearms, a burden of plea was reached in 13 cases. a law congress passed that encouraged the state's -- it has been a very spotty record of compliance by the states. we have people who were adjudicated, mentally ill, who would not show up on a background check because that 2008 law has not been adequately enforced.
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then there is this. we see a number of states like connecticut who have much more restrictive gun laws where some of these tragedies have occurred. we have not stopped it. you even have countries like mexico where you have 60,000 people killed as a result of drug cartel activity and criminals are not stopped by restrictions or law-abiding citizens. is not clear to me that passing more laws that will not be enforced enthusiastically by the department, and you look at the studies that have been done on previous assault weapons bans, and no evidence that it actually had any impact whatsoever, you say it needs more study. that is fine. i would be interested in what the study reveals. just call me skeptical that passing the assault weapon ban would have any real impact given the fact criminals will continue to get guns and the lack of enforcement by the department. >> thank you. you have been very indulgent. >> thank you. >> may i respond? in response to your point, i have a couple of really important things that need to be said today. i could not disagree more strongly that the department of justice is not aggressively enforcing the existing fire arms.
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we spend an enormous amount of time, effort, energy, talent, skill, and sleepless nights enforcing those laws. if you take a look at 2012, the total number of criminal prosecutions brought by the department of justice was in the vicinity of 85,000. of those, one in seven involved firearms charges. in colorado a couple weeks ago, we did a similar assessment for 2012. in colorado, close to one in five of the criminal prosecutions we bring our cases involving firearms. what are those cases? those cases are those in which a criminal has and uses a firearm. we have limited resources. i know everyone in this room understands the federal government have limited
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resources to address these things. as a prosecutor and as the prosecutors in my office consider cases, we go for the worst of the worst. the worst of the worst cases are the one in which a bad guy has actually got a gun. that is where we focus our attention. i acknowledge paperwork violations, lying on forms, are federal crimes. part of the things we all need to keep in mind is the fact that 80,000 or 76,000 people in 2012 were rejected as part of the firearms check and not able to buy a firearm, that in and of itself is a victory. that system is working. if you go back to when the fire arms check first went into affect, there were over 1.5 million potential purposes
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rejected because a person is prohibited, either by a private felony. that is a record of success. there is also no way the department of justice could have prosecuted all 1.5 million people who were rejected over that 15-year purpose. my point is, i am an enforcement guy. i completely agree with you we need to be enforcing the existing fire arms laws effectively. when i think about the people in my office. because they are working so hard, i just have to tell you, i disagree with you. these are career folks.
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they are not people who are driven by any other politics. they care deeply about their community. >> i applaud mr. walsh for your commitment. i used to be in your line of work. i admire people who put their lives at risk every day. but i do not believe -- when asked. if i can ask that the record i was referring to, if they could be made part of the record. >> so order. thank you. thank you for your work in law enforcement. our neighboring state of wisconsin, and also in colorado, all three of our states share common beliefs, that hunting and recreation is an important part of our culture. is important in minnesota. i have supported the heller decision, but i thought you did a good job of explaining how those decisions anticipated rules and regulations. it is our job.
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that is what this hearing is about. the first thing i think there is agreement on is felons should not have guns. i got into that. that was one of my top priorities to enforce those laws. a second one that is emerging is the problem with the background checks. most gun owners agree we should have some kind of background check. one of the problems is the private sale loophole. one of the data from fbi show the number of women killed by a firearm by intimate partners was 34% lower by states who regulated such sales. do you think this would be helpful in domestic abuse cases to close that loophole?
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>> they give for the question. >> your mike is off. >> thank you for the question. one of the most effective and important elements is a provision that prohibits people with domestic violence misdemeanors, as well as felony convictions from owning a weapon. the reason for that if the statistics show in cases of habitual domestic violence, the presence of a gun in a home can be deadly. to many of those cases result in the death of the abused spouse or intimate partner. one of the area's where we need to have an invigorated the existing database and an expanded database to cover all sorts of private transactions it is exactly that area. right now, all too often, those offenses may or may not show up accurately in a database. we need to tighten that up.
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we also need to make a really strong efforts to ensure habitual domestic violence offenders are not able to obtain a gun from a friend or through a purchase or things of that sort. that is why tightening up or extending private transactions -- >> i will submit questions on the record. there is difficulty for law enforcement. most people would agree it is an area where it is reasonable to make regulations. we have the issue of mental health records. a guy killed his parents, got up, this just happened, and they found him with a bunch of weapons. he had actual notes about
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newtown when they found him. i believe more work can be done there and there should be public support for that. my last question, we have heard a lot of statistics brown about the effectiveness of the assault weapons ban. you have been in law enforcement for 40 years. what was your personal experience. do you observe a change from when it was enacted? >> thank you. i had to endure research and statistics class is that made my hair hurt. i did not learn. one of the things i learned was the existence between correlation and causation. we have a study in 2007 that could not identify causations. it was written by ph.d.'s. they can never decide anything.
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the fact of the matter is, during the bill, the number of assault weapons used in violent crimes declined. we did not do a controlled study. we did not give out ak-47's. then we would know appeared we took a leap of faith. we made the assumption, bold as it was, that keeping high- capacity firearms out of the hands of criminals might reduce violence. violence was reduced. police did a lot of things. we changed our strategy. we embraced accountability systems. we worked very hard. we work closely with the community. we put a lot of guys in jail.
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we started recovering fewer assault rifles. is there a correlation? yes. it depends how you want to spin the data. >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chairman. i would like to begin by thanking the victims of violence who have come here and the members of law enforcement. i would like to thank you for your service on the front lines and to the victims of violence, i express the deepest sympathies that law enforcement was not able to prevent the horrific crimes you suffered. i have two little girls. i cannot imagine the suffering you are experiencing now. i have spent much of my adult life in law enforcement working to deter violent criminals and insure those who commit violent crimes of violence faced the very strictest of punishment. i am sorry for each of the victims here today who lost loved ones, that the system did not work to protect your loved
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ones and prevent the loss of life. this is an issue that touches on a lot of emotions. i would suggest an approach, that, in my view, should guide the senate's treatment. it is an approach that we should target our efforts to violent criminals. we should not target our efforts to needlessly restricting the constitutional liberties of law-abiding citizens. in gun control, there are a variety of proposals discussed. some, the evidence demonstrates, are cosmetic and they allow politicians to say, we are acting, but the evidence does not support they have any efficacy. others present a real threat on intruding on the liberties of law-abiding citizens.
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i want to start on the assault weapons ban. you said there had not been enough study on the assault weapons ban. a very similar law was in effect for roughly a decade. the department of justice has funded at least three studies of whether that bill had any positive effect. in 1999, the study concluded it failed to reduce. in 2004, it was concluded the assault weapons ban produced no discernible reduction in the lethality and luxury isthmus of gun violence. in 1997, the study that was already discussed likewise concluded. are you aware of any compelling an empirical data to the contrary? we have three studies that included the prior band had no effect.
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are you aware of empirical data to the contrary? >> let me say two things. it is an important question to ask. my understanding of what those studies said is a statistical analysis had not statistically established no fat. it is a fine point but an important one. the doctor who led the studies in each of those studies most recently came out with a january 2013 update description of his studies and thoughts for the future. he indicated he thought an argument could be made that, over time, if the assault weapon ban have continued to be coupled with a high-capacity magazine then, the combination of those things might have had a 5% effect.
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>> if i understand your answer, you did not point to any empirical data that demonstrates it had any effect whatsoever on violent crime. is that correct? >> not conclusive evidence it had an effect. i think the empirical data dr. copper is referring to, he believed there was a suggestion that on the margin, there was an impact. it was not necessarily statistically significant, that he could tell from his work. there were two areas i think are important to keep in mind, statistically, if i can risk that. one is there is good evidence assault weapons are used disproportionately in attacks with multiple victims and
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victims' with multiple wounds. secondly, there is good evidence to suggest assault weapons are used disproportionately on an attack on law officers. those would justify we proceed with the assault weapons ban. >> there was early discussion about causation and correlation. according to the bjs, 1993 to 2001, there were 611 homicides per year average with assault rifles. in 2010, 358, a little more than half. in 2011, 323. that is without the assault weapons ban in place. would you agree that that does not suggest the assault weapons ban had any significant efficacy and reducing violent crime? >> if we go back and look at the studies, the conclusion of dr. copper and his colleagues was there were multiple factors
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pulling into that. over the same time, we were seeing a reduction of violent crime overall in the united states, which also impacted it. the simple answer is, i am not an expert in that area. it is fair to say the effectiveness of the original assault weapons ban was mixed. there were some areas where the department of justice believes there was a positive effect in reducing the total number of victims. if the ban were extended and not made to sunset after 10 years, over time, we could see an improvement. >> my time has expired. i hope we can discuss how the department of justice and law enforcement can target violent criminals directly rather than either legislation that the data suggests has no material affect, or legislation that would strip law-abiding citizens. instead, we should be targeting
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a violent criminals. that is what will protect people's lives. >> thank you. >> thank you for your leadership on this difficult and enormously emotional issue on every side. i have been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching the last several months. i spent a lot of time traveling around minnesota, talking with my constituents about this issue. what i am hearing is people want us to take action to reduce gun violence and to make our communities safer. they want us to honor the second amendment and respect minnesota's culture of responsible gun ownership.
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so there is balance to be struck here. i focus on mental health issues. while continually underscoring how important it is not to stigmatize mental illness. the vast majority of people who are mentally ill are no more violent than the general population. if we are going to make mental health a part of this, let's make it more than a talking point. let's do something to improve the access to treatment for
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children and adults. today, we are talking about assault weapons. to prepare for the hearing, i went back and read the record from the last two hearings. one of the arguments we have heard is that assault weapons are needed for self-defense. a witness at our first hearing gave us a list of more than 20 instances in which guns were used in self-defense. i have not seen any evidence that any of those cases involved an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine.
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rather than presenting real cases as evidence for the record, that these weapons are needed for self-defense, witnesses and members of this committee have asked us to imagine hypothetical situations where someone needs an assault weapon or more than 10 rounds for self-defense. i can imagine those hypothetical cases. i am not sure what value that holds. but i do not have to imagine someone using a 30-round magazine or several to kill 20 children. because that happened. i do not have to imagine a deranged man using a 100-round clip to kill 12 people in a movie theater. that happened. i do not have to imagine a mad man firing 33 rounds on interrupted at a grocery store parking lot, killing six people, including a little girl. and wounding 13 others. including a member of congress. that happened. i do not have to a match and a mad man with an extended clip slaughtering people because that happened. i have a responsibility to make informed decisions. we owe it to all americans to
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address this emotional issue with a healthy regard for reality and the truth. if we ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines, will we save lives? that is the real question. it is not easy. we have been discussing this data. in previous hearings, we were told a 1997 independent study commissioned by the clinton justice department, the one just discussed, we were told it proved the last assault weapons ban had no affect on crime. that it proved it.
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mr. walsh, your testimony addresses that study. do the studies prove, as we have been told, that the assault weapons ban was ineffective? or do they show something else? >> if i may begin with the earlier 1990's-era study, the initial conclusion was that there was potentially up to a 6.7% reduction in gun murders as a result of the assault weapons ban and the high-capacity magazine bam. in subsequent analysis, the authors did not prove that was statistically significant here they were trying to be thoughtful and very precise about the amount of evidence they had. >> this was done only on one- year's data, because it was 1997.
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they said our best estimate is that the ban contributed to a decrease in total gun murders between 1994 and 1995. beyond what would have been expected in view of on going crime, demographic, and economic trends. that is a quote. i think this is very important. because you cannot prove something is statistically valid, that does not prove it did not happen. in fact, unless you cherry pick sentences, you can cherry pick others. an honest reading is not that this proved this did not have efficacy. it did not prove that all.
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>> if i could add two other points relevant, since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, studied by the police executive research forum in 2010 found 37% of police departments reported an increase in criminals' use of assault weapons again since the time of the ban expiring, as well as a 38% increase in the use of those weapons, also using high- capacity magazines, those with more than 10 rounds. there is evidence subsequent to that that the prevalence of these weapons and their use in crime is rising, which is something we should be concerned
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about, as well. >> thank you. >> thank you for both of you for being with us today and for your service to the country. i appreciate what you do. we have all been horrified by acts of mass violence. including and especially those that have occurred in recent memory. i do not think there is a person here in this room or anyone watching on television who does not want to find a way to end or at least diminish incidence of gun violence. there are a number of factors at play in our society and culture. they have created an environment in which gun violence has regrettably -- i worry at times if we rush to quickly into enacting gun ownership restrictions, that could cause problems.
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first, because it could give the american people a basis for concluding congress could put an end to this just by legislating. experience in this area and others taught us we cannot fix everything through legislation. there has been a suggestion made today, some indication by the evidence, that there is at least a mixed record. an absence of certain proof as to the efficacy of gun ownership laws in the past. perhaps more importantly, i worry about what some of the gun control measures we have been discussing might do to the rights of law-abiding citizens. some people may obey the law regardless of what it says and some people might disregard it regardless of what it says. we always have to be on the lookout for the law-abiding. whenever we enact laws, it is those people whose liberty is
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diminished. it is those people whose options are constrained by what we do here. i focused a lot on those people. in this hearing, we are provided with an opportunity to discuss whether the assault weapons ban of 2013 will alleviate gun violence without diminishing the rights of those
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people. i would like to talk to you about this a little bit. in your written testimony, you state magazines with more than 10 rounds are not necessary for self defense because the majority of such shootings occur at close range. and my understanding your written testimony? >> that is certainly included. >> let's assume you are correct the majority of self-defense shootings to occur at close range. what might this mean for those minority of instances in which law abiding citizens might use a gun in self-defense in long- range situations? can we ignore the impact that any laws we adopt might have on persons who need more than 10 rounds to legitimately and
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lawfully defend themselves and their families or the needs of those people who might need a longer range approach to self- defense? >> i think it is a good question. self-defense is the core of the second amendment protection. we acknowledge and want to honor that. i have a couple thoughts. part of the reason most self- defense incidents occur at close range is that when you have an assailant at longer range, you can leave the scene or call in for assistance. i would differ to the police chiefs sitting at my side for the details. that is important to keep in mind. there is a reason why the close range incidences are more common. the evidence that i have seen suggests the vast majority of self-defense incidents involve one or two shots fired, if any. i will tell you in my personal experience as an assistant u.s. attorney, i am not aware of any specific self-defense incident in which a potential victim needed to fire more than one shot. there could be a circumstance under which that took place.
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in that scenario, i agree with you. there is a potential, marginal effect on that person's ability to defend themselves. i am not aware of those instances happening. >> i appreciate that. i see my time is running out. there was a 1995 study of the use of guns in self-defense. i understand the study concluded that in almost half of the instances in which a victim was attacked and used a gun in self- defense, there were at least two attackers. in nearly 25% of those situations, there were three or more attackers. even at close range, would it not be helpful if not critical, in those instances, would that not be helpful to have an ammunition magazine with more
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than 10 rounds? >> i am not sure i am familiar with the study you are referring to. i know there were statistics that were going around related not to armed assaults but to assaults with firearms, but assaults by assailants that were not all armed. i would need to have a chance to look at that. to answer your question directly, the fact is if someone were confronted with three assailants armed with firearms, i suppose there is a hypothetical scenario under which having more than 10 rounds of the magazine would be of some marginal assistance. as i say, i am not aware of any such assistance happening where somebody has required more than 10 shots. >> thank you. i would like to thank the two panelists. i did not use all of my time. the intent of the bill in 2004 was to dry up supply over time. the sunset had to be added.
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we came through the senate in a bear margin. 51 votes on a motion to table. the sunset was critical to getting those votes. point two, the gun manufacturers took the two characteristics and crafted weapons to get around it. the third point is that this is really an important issue of public policy. these weapons could also, by virtue of their construction, be held at the hip and spray fired. that makes them just lethal with the increased velocity, as you pointed out, in a rifle. i really appreciate your frankness.
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i appreciate you being here. the city you served is very lucky. mr. prosecutor, you have fantastic retention. i really thank you for your service to our country. oh, senator blumenthal, take some extra time. i am so sorry. >> thank you. i know in the senate, freshmen senators are supposed to be seen and not heard. i am happy to be heard today. [laughter] i want to begin by thanking you, madam chairman, for your courage over many years, you're consistent advocacy for this assault weapons ban. you have been strong. the blunt fact is this issue was thought to be politically untouchable two months ago.
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we would not be here today without the horrific newtown tragedy. i want to begin by asking my fellow citizens of connecticut, most specifically of the members of the newtown committee, as well as the families who have victims, to please stand so we can thank you publicly for your courage and strength in this extraordinary historic moment. thank you. >> let's give them a round of applause. [applause] >> i want to thank my colleague, who was here earlier. he had another hearing. he has been a very active member of his team. there was extraordinary evil in newtown on december 14 of last year.
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there was also extraordinary heroism. part of it was in fact the law enforcement officers who went to the school, charged into the building, and thereby prevented even more deaths because the shooter turned the gun on himself when he knew police were on the scene. i want to begin by thanking our law enforcement officers who are on the front lines every day. we have two of our most distinguished in the country. thank you for being here. thank you for your eloquent and powerful testimony today. it was also the courage and strength of the newtown community. the ph.d.'s and statisticians and lawyers may debate the numbers, but the second simple, blunt fact is that some or all
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of those 20 beautiful children and educators would be alive today if assault weapons had been banned, along with high- capacity magazines. some of the victims in tucson would be alive today, including 9-year-old christina taylor. the fact is we need a comprehensive strategy. nobody here is saying and assault weapons ban, were a prohibition on high-capacity magazines, will end gun violence. we are choosing to light a candle rather than curse the darkness. the fact is, i would agree with you totally that what we see in our nation is mass murder committed as a result of gun violence.
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i differ only to say it is not slow motion. it is escalating. it is rapid fire. 1900 people have been killed since newtown as the result of gun violence. i want to began by asking you, chief flynn, what is it that leads you to feel the men and women on your force are outgunned by these assault weapons? >> i carried a six shooter the first years of my career. in the last 20 years, we have been in an arms race. i had to start farming my officers with assault weapons in cruisers to start to protect
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themselves. that is not where we were. >> their body armor won't protect them. >> we have to constantly upgrade the body armor and offer them the opportunity to wear metal plates. i had the opportunity on september 11, 2001. i was the police chief in arlington, virginia. that is where the pentagon was. what i learned that day is if this country takes 3000 innocent victims, it takes major steps to alter itself. nobody has boarded an airplane the same way since. >> now i wondered in the last decade how many people have to get murdered in a mass murder for it to be enough? i've been wrong time after time after time. i'm a grand pap i have little kids at home.
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are 20 babies enough? that's what we're asking for? when was that gun bought? \[applause] >> i'm a law enforcement guy too. i had your job in connecticut some years ago. i want to say, nobody in law enforcement ever thinks we're doing enough. nobody ever says we can go home and stop trying to to do better. so as much as we may agree with you that the united states department of justice and local and state police forces are trying to enforce these laws as agress ily as possible. i think you need more resources and you need criminal background checks. so you can know how to keep these weapons, all weapons out of the hands who shouldn't have them, criminals, domestic abusers, the severe mentally
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ill. would you agree that the criminal background check expansion into private sales as well as ammunition sales are a way to enforce the existing laws? that are on the books right now so you can know before the weapons are purchased that we can keep those guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. >> the majority of firearms are bought bielly, they are not stolen. -- legally they are not stolen. six of my officers were shot by criminal who is bought guns out of the same dealer. the point is, those checks work. effect extend them to the gun shows we can keep guns out of
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the hands of criminals as well as the criminally insane. >> perhaps we can stop them from buying ammunition after they have those guns. would you agree? >> certainly. >> would you agree? >> absolutely, senator. i think those are critical steps that will help us keep the american people safer. i know after the columbine the state of colorado tightened up their own background check to close the so-called gun show loophole. you can't stop everything as we saw last july in aurora. >> thank you charm. >> this completes the panel. excuse me, senator you have one more question.
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>> to learn from the experiences in your state, on september 21, 2011 the a.t.f. issued an open letter to all federal firearms regarding transfer of firearms and ammunition to individuals authorized by state law to use marijuana for medal purposes. the years of medical marijuana even authorized by state law are prohibited by possessing firearms. because they are considered unlawful users of controlled substances under the law. because your state passed the amendment 64. i have three questions but really dealing with that subject. so i will give you a three. will you prft individual who is
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use marriage in colorado and possess firearms and ammunition as a vilings? why or why not? lastly, your charged with enforcing federal law. have you prosecuted anyone for violating based on medical marijuana use? >> on respect to the first question, the answer is yes, we have. in fact, we have a case out of boulder county where an individual was engaged in a grow of marijuana and possessed a variety of weapons, including nasty things called street sweepers.
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if we would prosecutor individuals solely because they had a firearm and were user of medical marijuana, i think we have to look at those cases individually before we make a decision to determine if that was the right allocation of our resources. i say that because the guidance we received from the department is that generally speaking it is not the best use of our limited federal resources to go after individual patients who may be using medical marijuana. >> thank you very much for your answer. >> the next panel to please come forward. senator blumenthal will introduce the first two witnesses. >> please take your seats we would like to begin.
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senator blumenthal at your pleasure. >> thank you. thank you and my thanks for having two witnesses from connecticut. i don't know if you want to administer the oath or -- >> i will. i was going to -- >> i will be happy to introduce them before if you like. >> all right. if the witnesses would stand and
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raise your right hand. do you affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? thank you, please be seated. >> thank you both for being here. when i went to the sandy hook firehouse on the day of shooting, within hours of this occurrence i went as a public official, but what i saw was through the eyes of a parent. and i saw the aftermath and impact of unspeakable and unimaginable horror and evil. there was also a lot of heroism from gentlemen like yourself and families that were there. in your case, to help save lives and in your case, to learn about the loss of your son. to introduce you first, i know
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on december 14 you lost your son jesse. he was 6 years old and attended san hook elementary. i know also, as you have told me and the doctor has from the beginning of this tragedy and as recently as sunday night and yesterday that you want to be here to try to make sure that newtown never happens again. i am grateful and i know the committee is for you being here. we have much to thank you for being here neil for being here. your courage is an inspiration and hopefully will be an inspiration to this committee. i know you were born and raised in connecticut and you went into medicine after your father passed away following a medical mistake. you were voted the top resident in john hopkins for community
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emergency room doctors. during your residency you also did a clerkship at the maryland shock trauma institute. then you went to work at fort drum to oversee 800 doctors and 200 physician assistants at the hospital. you are currently a director and i know you were in newtown that day. at the danbury hospital where you were the e.r. physician on duty when some of the sandy hook children were brought to the hospital and emergency room. i thank you for your efforts on that tragic day and for testifying today. >> welcome. we are honored to hear your comments.
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>> i'm jesse's dad. jesse was brutally murdered at the sandy hook school. 20 minutes after i dropped him off. this picture was taken when jesse was 6 months old. it was our first christmas together. that picture over there is the picture six months before his death. that picture is a picture from
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last year. jesse was the love of my life. he was the only female i had left. it is hard for me to be here today talking about my son. i have be his voice. i'm not here for the sympathy or a pat on the back. i'm here to speak up for my son. there are many changes that have to happen to make the change effective. mental health issue, better background checks, ban these
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weapon, ban the high-capacity magazines, they all have to come together and work effectively. common sense tells you that. i watched the video this morning, about the dangerous weapon. anyone that can argue that isn't being honest. jesse was 6 half years old. -- 6 and half years old. the day he was born was the happiest day of my life. the saddiest day of my life was december 14. i waited in that firehouse until 1:00 in the morning, 12:30 until i knew that jesse was confirmed dead. senator blumenthal was there, governor malloy, the other congressman from connecticut along with the police and the first responders.
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i have a bond with them that will last a lifetime. no person should have to go through what myself and any of the other victim's families had to deal with and had do go through and what the town of newtown had to go through. on the morning of december 14, jesse and i stopped at a dellly and got his -- deli and we got his favorite sandwich. we always do that that. i get a coffee and jesse got what he called a coffee but it was a hot chocolate. it was 9:04 when i dropped jesse off. the school clock -- jesse gave
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me a hug and a kiss at that time and said good-bye, i love you. he stopped and said i love mom too. that was the last i saw of jesse as he ducked around the corner. prior to that, when he was getting out of the truck he hugged me and held me and i can still feel that hug and the pat on the back. he said everything is going to be ok dad. it is all going to be ok. and it wasn't ok. i had to go home that night to an empty house. havehing that shouldn't ever happened at an elementary school. people argue about the second amendment, how the second
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amendment is well-regulated militia to bear arms. freedom of state, it hasn't been well regulated. it is not being weg regulated. -- well regulated. i read over -- it is not about taking the weapons from the owners, it is putting a ban on the manufacturing and curving the sale of them. it is not hurting the sportsman, it is not hurting the gun owners now. i fully support the second amendment and i fully support the sportsman and the hunters. i grew up with firearms. i started skeet shooting with my father when i was 8 years
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old. in my teen years i was state championship. i achieved a level of markmansship. i have a knowledge of weapons, including military weapons. shootingarticipate in or hunting anymore. i had a young boy and i devoted my life to him. the same day that jesse passed away, five days before that my mother passed away. jesse had an interest in military. jesse had an interest in guns and asked a lot of questions about them. strange enough the night before he perished, he was looking at a survival magazine.
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in that magazine, there were three weapons on one page. one was in bushmaster, one was a glock, and one was a sig handgun. i had to go back the following day to look at that. but i quickly looked at it that night but it was an assault weapon and two handguns. he asked me about the weapons and i explained what they were used for and their capability. it was a high-velocity high- range cartridge used by the military. his response was to the weapon or gun used to kill people and i said yes, jesse, that is what it is used for. jesse had a bebe gun and i got it for him for christmas.
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i taught him gun safety and he was proficient with it and knew the gun safety precautions. he could recite them to you. the same way i could when i was his age. it breaks my heart that something like that could happen in this country. i walked past the capitol this morning, the capitol police three feet from me, what is he holding? an assault weapon. protecting us today. a weapon similar to that was brought into an elementary
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school, sandy hook connecticut and killed 20 students and six educators. i just can't believe that could happen. those weapons were used in the battlefields of vietnam. they were used in the persian gulf, they were used in afghanistan and iraq. the sole purpose is to put a lot of lead on the battlefield quickly and that is what they could do. that was proof right there, the video this morning. they have the capability to be held and used to produce rapid fire. i asked a question a month ago, what purpose those served around the street? i haven't received an answer yet but they did alert the
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second amendment. it wasn't about the second amendment. i defend second amendment and i want to see that upheld and regulated and it hasn't been. when that was written almost 300 years ago we didn't have these weapons that we have today and the technology. they had canons and muskets. i think it was 1934 when the ban was put on machine guns and the regulation. we haven't had a mass killing with a machine gun since. i feel these so-called assault weapons that have certain characteristics could fall in that category and be banned. >> thank you. thank you very much.
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>> thank you chairman feinstein and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to speak and testify. i'm a doctor and i trained at the john hopkins hospital. the parent of three newtown students, i'm with a couple of grass roots organizations, including the united physicians in newtown and the newtown action alliance. our group of physicians is over 100 demrs newtown who are on the same platform, some are republican, some democrat, but we're all in the same platform about assault weapons and gun violence. i'm the e.m.s. medical director for newtown. i'm afriend of some of the families that lost loved ones and i was the e.r. doctor that was on shift on december 14.
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what is my goal? my goal is to convince you that banning assault rifles and real gun control measures that l make a difference. research has been severely limited. i had to go overseas to see some real data to see what the real answers are. in scotland in 1996, a shooter got off 109 rounds, he killed 16 little children and a teach earn injured another 27 kids and four more teachers. in australia in the same year, a 28-year-old with an ar-15 assault rifle killed 35 people and injured another 23. the damage caused by an assault rifle compared to a regular gun
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is horrific. some of the injuries is so bad that there is nothing salvageable. they don't even make it to my e.r. at the end, i have a video to show you. what do legislatures do across the world, they enacted real gun solutions. they banned assault weapons. did the legislation work right away? no, it didn't work right away. but where they stand today in 2010 as fars a mass murderers go, in the u.s. we've had over 20 mass murders. in the united kingdom, one. in australia, zero. before 1996, in australia there was over a dozen. we've had over 30,000 data each year in our country.
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in australia and united kingdom with their gun legislation they have less than 300 deaths a year. that is 1%. gun legislation to ban assault rifles, it works. if you own a gun because you think it is going to make you safer, let me give you some real stats. there's something called -- femicide. women are five times likely to be killed by the spouse if there is a gun in the house. that's a real study. i'm sorry for being loud but this is emotional for me. if you own a gun in the house you are five times likely to die from suicide. if you own a gun, you are 20 times as likely to die from unintentional gun deaths. countries that ben assault rifles and have gun control measures do lower the chance of
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gun deaths for citizens. i'm asking you to consider a ban on assault military weapons. a ban on semi-automatic rifle, require background checks for gun purchases and please, please, can we do some real gun research in this country? in this country. what galls me is those who say let's focus on mental health are the same ones that say we need to have a conservative approach and balance the budget. what are the first program that are cut? mental health. i'm asking you to not even add programs i'm asking not to cut the program that are out there. allow me as a doctor, when i so see a patient when i talk to them about texting and driving, alcoholism, safe sex, can i talk to them about gun violence? please.
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you are 23 times likely to driving about texting and driving why can't i have announcement saying the same thing to gun ownership. i'm not against the second amendment. physical you go through the proper channels, i do respect your ability to own a gun. but not an assault rifle. i want to recognize the efforts of the first responders from the greater newtown area. thank you for your service. to the families, who's loved one made it to the e.r., we tried our best. my mom and my dad were both connecticut state respectives, eni said to my mom i said mom, why don't you think they will change? she said they have their party
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lines and they have their lobbyists. i said do you think this one time they will do us right? she said yeah, i think so. i think this time they will. people say that the overall number of assault weapons death is relatively small. don't tell that to the people of com william bike, aurora, and please don't tell that to the people of newtown. this is a tipping point and this is a health issue. please make the right decision. thank you for our time. if there's extra time i want to show a small video. on the difference between injuries from a handgun and an assault rifle. thank you for our time
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otherwise. >> thank you for your time, doctor. i will introduce the following four witnesses. nicholas jay johnson. he's published articles on the subject of firearms regulations and environmental law. prior to that he practiced law as an associate with morgan lewis, served as vice president of westar environmental cooperation and was of council for kirkpatrick and lockhart. ons the author of two books gun ownership. i will introduce david, who is an attorney in private practice in tucson. he is a friend of the court in several firearm related cases. he spent 10 years as a career attorney. he represented the united states
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fishing and wildlife service. prior to service in the government, he was assistant general council for the national rifle association. sam adams is a representative elected in 2010, to represent florida's 24th district before she served for a term of two years. she worked in the florida state house of representatives for four years and served over 17 years with orange county sheriff's office as a deputy sheriff an investigator. finally, mayor michael nutter. he is the mayor of philadelphia. as the leader of the official nonpartisan organization with populations of 30,000 or more. the mayor speaks on behalf of 1,300 mayors nationwide. before he was the mayor of philadelphia, he spent 15 years on the philadelphia city council.
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mr.l begin with you, johnson. welcome. you want to activate your mic. thank you. >> thanks for inviting me. first i should say, the last two pieces of testimony, when reference to the victims of incidents like this is give them anything they want. i understand that impulse. i guess, what i would say to people who support the bill, which i have critiques here is the mind is a council of despair, unfortunately. my testimony is drawn from analysis of this question that i published in 2009. the classifications established are unsustainable under the lowest level of constitutional review.
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they fail to meet the rational bay basis requirements -- basis requirements. we must compare that category to the base line of guns which is deemed unacceptable. the characteristics that are defined were all objectively measural. by those objective measures the classification i think is unsuss and theable and i have detailed this in the article that i mentioned. the primary characteristic is multishot capability. the common 30-round magazine will fire .22 caliber, one with each pull of the trigger. now compare guns that are in the nonprohibited class. the shotgun, pump or semi automatic. huppeds of guns of this time are on the list of prohibited
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firearms. there are hundreds of guns of this type in the inventory. any of these guns will fire 15, .33 caliber with a single pull of the trigger. you have a variety of other loadings that will push this up or downward. this broad category of repeating shotguns can be reloaded without disabling the gun. that is an attribute that the class does not exhibit. the down time while the shooter changes magazine is actually circumstance come vented by the class of shut guns that are on the nonprohibited list. another claim that prohibblets the class of guns is they are equipped with barrel shrouds and those things contribute to spray firing without aiming.
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this better describes shut gun technology. now, these basic points are confirmed by the united states army assessment. a version of this anal sills appears in an 1997 article published in "the army lawyer." as to the legality of the shut gun in combat. it was prepared to a response to a formal complaint in world war i charging that the model pump shotgun in use by u.s. troops was so destructive that it violated the laws of war. the response was this, the shotgun finds its class and the dispersion of the shotgun
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pellets was for the purpose of putting out in action of charging the enemy with each shot of the gun. with this respect, it is like the machine gun discharging a spray of bullets. it goes on to describe a british analysis of a shotgun, which reports of heighting a man-sized target was superior to all other weapons. this assaults weapon is described as immediate cartridge and superior to the sub machine gunfiring a five round. when gaged against these characteristics, the rhetoric not only inaccurate describes the class but describes guns that it is classified as less dangerous and put s put on a
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list of good guns. that limits the bill as inco- inherent and that renders the bill unable to pass the analysis. my detailed testimony goes into far more deathth with regard to other characteristics of this type. my overall assessment is this, guns are dangerous, all of them are dangerous. as a class they are deadly, especially when deployed against defensive people. i fear the conversation we've been having about this particular type of gun is a distraction of the broader issues. >> thank you very much, mr. johnson. >> thank you. as he has demonstrated that the s 150 cannot pass scrutiny
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because it discriminates against different things. i would point out that it would mark the most extensive gun ban in the history of this republic. the 1994 ban, listed several brands that could not be made. in 1994 ban, firearms with a pistol grip that per attituded lower than the firearm. that virtually -- the only reason i can't say every but every rifle and shotgun made today has a pistol grip. it is not a separate pistol grip it is just the area where your hand fits around makes it more comfortable to fire. so any semi-automatic that have a replaceable magazine.
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the category seems to be focused on style as they say military style but the fact of the matter is, nobody would go toward with a semi automatic. they would go toward with a m16. the price of the creation of the assault rifle, which is fully automatic they had to drop the pow ore of the cartridge by 50%. you can't fire a military round without getting the heck beaten out of you by recoil. so it we dropped the power to slightly over 1,000. some might turn it into the a semi automatic and you have half the military power. if you look at the various ban features, apart from having the power of the pistol grip,
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there's been statements that the still grip is supposed to prevent aim from the hip. that only happens from "rambo" movies. the military would not be issuing firearms to people that are conducive to being fired from the hip without aiming because you can't hit anything in that mode. if you stop to think about the angle of the pistol grip, it would make it harder to fire from the hip than from the shoulder because military doesn't want you firing from the hip. the threaded barrel, i can't see a connection between a threaded barrel and criminal conduct. what could it be? if we talk flight suppresser, i have ver tied with an ar15 in a darkened range there is no flash. you can take the flash is up presser off.
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i would agree with the doctor on one issue that i promised my friend to raise. clayton wrote a book on the mentally ill and what a disaster it has been for the country. he cites about 1,000 homicides a year of mentally ill peel who have gone off their medicines. we have to treat the mentally ill, especially the dangerous ones, get them off the street where they can be treated. we're not doing a fraction of this at the moment. we can try to get the violent, mentally ill out of commission or we need to create a environment where it is safe to have the mentally ill on the street. i suggest the latter is simply impossible task. one of the features is
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illustrated by two firearms. both shoot the same art ridge, both take 20-30-round magazines. both shoot at the same rate per trigger pull. both weigh the same and are about the same length. the ar-15 is one of the prohibited list and the 14 is exempted from the two bans. yet, they are functionally identical. the only difference one has a wooden stock and the other one has a plastic one. i think has the professor pointed out, to pass any scrutiny there has to be a relationship between the statute and an important social goal. it must not unnecessarily impact the lawful rights. they have no relationship to
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criminal use. i would point out one last thing, which is as far as burden of rights. there is only one adam lanza. but attempts to regulate their actions. the arbitrary standards fail any test for constitutionality and for that matter, wide social policy. thank you. >> thank you very much. representative adam, welcome. >> thank you. before i begin, i would like to state that my thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of newtown and the first responders. this issue is not political to
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me but it is personal. i spent over 17 years as a law enforcement officer in orange county, florida. i had the ultimate experience of looking down the barrel of a gun knowing that that trigger was pulled, i would not be here today. i know what it feels like when a laser is put on you. my comments are not based on political motivation but my personal believes and experiences. i consider any legislation made would truly contribute to that worthy objective. to ban a wide variety of rifles and shotguns and ammunition of magazines that hold over 11- rounds, that is an easy answer. that study found that the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in a modest
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fraction of all gun murderers. several years later, a study found that assault weapons were used in a small percentage of gun crimes and that assail leapts fire within the 10-round magazine imposed by the ban. given the outcome of the studies and the fact that the nation's murder rate continues to decrease. legislation that seeks to ban semiautomatic firearms will not solve the nation's crime problem. because it is not the lack of the law that is the problem, it is lack of the enforcement of existing laws. 10 years ago i ran for office as i watched officials run for office without any regard of such laws. i saw firsthand how difficult it was to convince state and
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federal agencies to prosecutor criminals for illegal gun possessions. the attitude of many that i worked with was that these types of crimes were nuisance cases that was a drain on their resources. if we don't prosecutor people who possess firearms illegally what good does it do to pass more laws? in addition to enforcing the laws, we must get a handle on how to get firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. my state has proactively addressed. i sponsored a bill that requires them to keep a day that base of the mentally ill. and this amust disclose the data for other states used to determine the lawfully firearm sale or transfer.
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i also sponsored a bill that expanded the use of the mental health database and expanded the judicated mentally defected to include those who are committed to outpatient mental health treatments. these improve public safety by keeping firearms out of the mentally ill without endangering law-abiding gun owners. you have the tunt to do what is right and it may not be the easiest right. it is not time for feel-good legislation so you can say you did something. but it is time for a true discussion on the culture of violence and how to prevent more violent crime. thank you. >> thank you very much. a wrap up speaker is the distinguished mayor nutter of philadelphia. >> all the members of this committee, i'm the mayor of the city of philadelphia.
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i'm honored to have the opportunity to appear before you today on behalf of the nation's mayors to discuss the importance of passing the assaults weapon ban of 2013. while we support several billions being considered by this committee, we have made passage of the assaults weapon ban of 2013 our top priority. gun violence has been perm for you, senator feinstein and it has been personal for me. the first police officer my city lost after i became mayor was killed by an ak-47 or sk-47 assault-time weapon when he responded to a bank robbery on a saturday morning. i will never forget that day. a 12-year veteran with the philadelphia police officer. he was 39 years old. he left a wife and three children. neither police officers nor our
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citizens, and especially our children should be confronted with these weapons on the streets, in our schools, in our movie theaters, shopping mall, in our places of worship or other civilian settings. gun violence has also been personal for neil who is here on this table for w us today. on a personal note, it is my personal feeling that some of the statements made today have been passionately disrespectful to jesse and all others at newtown and many other cities across the country. [applause] he has been visited by every parents' nightmare. with his help, we can secure legislation that will spare other parents and other young children of the unimaginable
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pain of a life lost by a weapon designed for mass killing. the tragedy at sandy hook elementary school that killed 20 young children and six educators remains incomprehensible to all of us. too many times mayors have expressed shock at mass shootings. many of us must cope with the gun violence that occurs on our streets daily. citizens have been killed on philadelphia streets by handguns with high-capacity magazines as well as rifles and shotguns. to me, and to america's mayors, these are weapons of mass destruction and they are destroying our communities, our streets, our citizens and our females. the u.s. conference of mayors have been calling for sensible gun safety laws to protect the public for more than 40 years.
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our call on a ban of assault weapons dates back to 1981. we have done that because of the tremendous toll that gun violence takes on the american people day in and day out. every day in the united states of america, 282 people are shot, 86 die, including 32 who are murdered. every day, every day 50 children and teens are shot and eight of them die, including five who are murdered. gun violence disproportionately affects urban areas. our nation's 50 largest areas have cities and those cities account for 15% of the population but 39% of gun- related murderers and 29% of homicide.
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philadelphia, like many major cities have struggled to control gun violence for years. however, despite our recent success as employing police techniques, deaths due to gun violence have not fallen. let me use one set of statistics to illustrate this point. last year, in philadelphia the number of shooting victims was 1,282. this is down considerably from the year before. it was the lowest number since we began tracking shooting victims in the year 2000. however, the number of homicide victims was up slightly, seven more than in 2011. how are these two statistics possible? the answer is homicide victims have more bullets killing them. there are more rounds being fired than head shots.
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victims are bleeding out because when you're hit with eight, 10, 12, or 15 shots, if even you do not hit a major artistry you will bleed out in the streets or by the time you get to the hospital. when someone is shot in philadelphia or many other cities, sometimes they are more likely to die from the volume of rounds that hit them than anything else. i would note that pennsylvania, does not have strict gun regulations. when the city adopted the gun laws a few years ago our state supreme courting struck those laws down. that's why we need federal legislation. cities alone cannot reduce gun violence. we're doing everything we can but we're still losing the battle thanks to the proliferation of guns in our nation. philadelphia's story is not
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unique. mayors everywhere use scarce resources to fight gun violence, resources we should be using to educate our children. a letter sent three days after the newtown tragedy occurred and it calls on the president and congress to take immediate action and make changes to our gun laws and regulations. first is enact to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. i ask that you include that letter in the record for this hearing. >> so ordered. >> mayors who are protecting the cities, it is our highest responsibilities. >> it is more than passing sensible gun laws. we also know that we cannot keep our cities safe unless we pass such laws.
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your assault weapons ban bill is common sense legislation that will help us reduce the number of people, including police officers, who are shot and killed in our cities and throughout our nation. this legislation deserves a vote. this legislation deserves to be passed by this committee, by the senate, and by the house so president obama can sign it into law. ofnow we'll take an act political courage for many members of congress to support an assault weapons ban of 2013 but the time for courage is now. how many more children, how many more police officers do we have to lose for our elected representatives to do the right thing? please take action now in the interest of the most important special interest groups in america, all of american.
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thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. it is very much appreciated. i would like to, did you treat sandy hook victims? >> yes. i was in the e.r. that day when the victims came in. >> can you describe the kinds of wounds and the number of bullets in these small bodies? >> there's privacy rules in hippa that prevent me from detailing the type of wounds. but most of the victims didn't come in when you have such horrific injuries to little bodies, they don't make it to
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the hospital. the coroner from the state of connecticut, he stated that each body had three-11 bullets. when a child has three-111 bullets and it is an assault- type bullet and it does not go in a straight line, it goes through and it opens up. that is not a survival injury. so with respect to the families who lost loved ones and have them come into the emergency room and hippa rules i can't describe the specifics. but hopefully, i did paint a picture of what went on. >> did you have something that you wanted to show us? >> there's a video that is about one minute. it is to highlight the
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difference between a bullet that went into a body versus a handgun and abassault weapon. it just demonstrates the destruction between the two. >> looks like we have a well- placed hit. get that out of the way. >> you can barely see it. it did not exit the block. this is the right side of the block and it is turned upside down. we have a narrow channel where this came in about 4 inches, 3.5-4 inches. i actually lost the track or channel at about the 8 inch mark. this rifle is the ar 15, 24 inch barrel it is currently dialed in at 200 yards.
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there's the point of impact. didn't knock it off the table. a little bit right of where i wanted that to be but that is me, that is not the ammo. my tests prior to this were on target. i cut down right across the top of the block where i thought the wound channel might be and nailed it exactly. the first thing you notice is that deepest penetration point did not go more than 5 inches but there is a story in this area here. when the bullet started to expand and then massive expansion, you see that big track there. in that case, it is going up and down and to the sides.
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bullet fragments all over the place and some jagged fragments as well. i was hoping to find that tip, there it is right there in the middle. you can see it in the cavern. the other track looks the same. that is the real story. look at this massive cavity in this area. >> so the first portion of the video represents like a .22 handgun so the bullet goes in on a straight line track. where the second video, represents what happens with an assault rifle-type bullet and explodes inside the body. it causes more damage. in the military and that's the type of goal you have. but to have this in civilian
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population is -- i don't understand. that's the point of the video. >> thank you very much. i appreciate it. comingt where you're from. you see a lot of things that most people never see. mayor, what percentage of violent deaths involving a firearm in your city that are a result of handguns versus rifles? >> thank you. in 2012, 331 murders occurred in philadelphia. consistently over the last 10 years, murder has been committed with a gun or other hand gun or rifle type weapon. anywhere from 82-85% of murders are committed with a gun in
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philadelphia. >> nationally according to the 2011 numbers, 2.5% of homicides were committed with some form of a rifle. is that vastly different in philadelphia? >> i do have some numbers. a lot about the national picture. 331 murders last year, 282 committed with a handgun. 2 with a shotgun. this year, we have had 31 murders. 37% year to date. 25 with handguns, 2 with a shotgun, including yesterday morning. jennifer fitzpatrick, 37, mother of 4, killed by her ex- boyfriend. in front of her four-year-old,
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with a 12-gauge shotgun, after chasing her down the street and shooting repeatedly after her. gun violence in major cities, i would only suggest handgun, rifle, shotgun -- dead is dead. that is what is being experienced in our cities all across america. >> i cannot agree with you more. the reason we have hearings like this is to paint a picture for america the problem we are trying to solve. i do not know what percentage of deaths are called by rifles and the philadelphia but nationally, it is to 2.5%. mr. hardy, you have done research on american ownership of ar 15s. do you think it would be a commonly used weapon? >> i believe it would be a weapon of common use at the time. the first research i included
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was 22% of all american rifle production is devoted to the ar 15 platform. those are companies that only make ar 15s. then you have other companies that make that and other arms. but back to the background check, he is not into chasing paper. if you have 76,000 people fail and background check and only 13 people plead guilty, i am not sure we are sending the right signal to our citizens at large that we are really serious about trying to get it. 19% of the people who failed the background check birth egotist from justice.
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-- were fugitives from justice. my point is we should be going after those folks. no matter how you feel about guns. we should be going after those folks. is this legislation, would it require a background check if i sold the gun to my neighbor? >> i do not know this bill specifically relates to that but proposals i have seen would say yes, you would have to go through a dealer. >> about self-defense, you familiar with the case in atlanta? a man entered a house with a crowbar. just gotten out of jail. the mother was at home with two
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daughters. she took them up to the second floor and hit in a closet. the intruder followed up and opened the closet door. she had a big shot revolver, was on the phone with her husband. she hit him five or six times. in a situation like that, would you object to the mother having a 20 magazine clip? >> no. and i am familiar with it. i heard about it. the question i had was if you follow them upstairs, what was his intent? >> we will never know what he was up to. it ended in a way with the family was safe. we all agree to no one who is mentally unstable to have one bullet with any gun. the point is how to make sure we balance keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people i would suggest in some
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situations, six bullets is not enough for a person defending their family and one bullet in the hands of the wrong person is way too many. that is what we are trying to accommodate here. there is a debate about self- defense. if there is a natural disaster somewhere, there are three homes. a home without a gun, with a shotgun and with an ar-15. if there is a gain of roaming around the neighborhood, what home is best protected in a situation like that? >> i would say the one with the ar-15, but you don't have to go to a hypothetical. i have been in a situation where you need it it, i live miles from the mexican border.
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i was within 5 miles with a rancher were working on a court case. he had a pistol, i had a pistol and an ar-15 in the car and i felt under armed. if you encounter a drug cartel, you will need more than that. >> vice president biden has made the case that if you live in a wooded area and have a double barrel shot gun to ward off the bad guys, outside and fire a couple of shots. he also said that there is a national disaster, a shotgun is a preferred weapon over the ar- 15 for self-defense. i would say reasonable people can disagree on that. >> thank you, senator. we must give up this room at
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1:30, and we have three additional senators who would like to ask questions, so, i like to try to keep the time line. senator durbin. >> thanks, madam chairman. i listened to the arguments on the other side. he said let's not rush into this to quickly two years ago and member of the united states house of representatives was shot in the face in tucson. we did not even hold a hearing on that. do not rush into this too quickly. when you look at what is happening in city after city, we are not rushing into this too quickly. we are coming into late for a lot of these victims. the second point made by some argue against the effort, laws are going to solve all the problems. many people just disregard whatever we do.
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no law is going to solve all the problems. today people are speeding on highways despite laws saying they should not theory does that mean we do not try? we do not make an effort at this? the thing that bothered me the most with the argument we have to take care and be careful to protect the rights all law abiding citizens. to protect the rights of law- abiding citizens. mr. heslin, i walked into the room when that video was on. there were people up there using ar-15s. flashed on the screen right after one of them was the word "fun." i thought about that. and i thought about your rights. to be safe, in a schoolroom a in newtown, connecticut. what about the rights of the law abiding citizens who wear
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uniforms every day, who put their lives on the line for us? what about their rights? don't they have rights get least equal to these under the second amendment? this is not an absolute right inside the professor johnson, i had been through law school a long time ago and law professors can dance around the top of the head of a pan. but when i listen to describe the senate amendment, it is a suicide pact. by your definition, what has been common in america is unacceptable in a civilized country. [applause] what has become common -- >> i made it very different point, senator. >> if it is, in america to have a military assault weapon with a 100 round magazine, god save this country.
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>> i made a point about irrational -- [applause] >> to respond? my point was this legislation would make things worse on the measure of people who support it. it cannot be sustained ultimately. the supreme court will look at these classifications. >> let's read what they said. let's read exactly what they said. they said -- the court held the second amendment preserves access to firearms in common use and not dangerous or unusable for the purpose of self-defense. are you arguing the ar-15 is a common weapon used for self- defense? >> that is not my argument, actually. >> you have been excluded by heller. please respond. >> the point of this analysis
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conducted in 2009 was there is a necessity for creating a category of exceptionalism. it claimed that it is exceptional, you have to claim that its characteristics are not duplicated by a gun in your allowable category. my claim about the shotgun was that all the claims made are better demonstrated by the shotgun. if you go before the supreme court with that what you would have is a piece of legislation that generates more demand for the type of gun you are trying to ban that ultimately he will have the same failure. >> my time is running out. on no lawyers and senators can speak at length. i would just say this in conclusion -- i believe this chair has made a good-faith effort. if you look at the number of weapons in exception to her categories, there is no law- abiding sportsmen are hunter or person who wants a gun for
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self-defense who would be left on armed under the second amendment in illinois or anywhere in the united states. >> those guns are actually more deadly than the ar-15. that is the point. >> there is ample opportunity for applying the second amendment. the court said the could be reasonable in drawing these standards. the last point i will make -- representative adams,this is not feel good legislation. i am sorry you use that phrase. i cannot feel good about being here today. we are trying to make this country sick and we are giving our best effort. >> i understand as someone who has a husband at judiciary square. i also understand that the criminals by definition cannot -- do not obey the law. when you take away the guns people have to protect themselves, law-abiding citizens are left on arms. >> i am sure you will support universal background checks.
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>> if you want to fix that system first, i would love to have an opportunity to discuss that with you. [gavel] >> senator franken. >> thank you. i want to thank all the witnesses for being here today. we met a few weeks ago, mr. heslin. i want to thank you for being here, for sharing your store of -- story. i read your testimony. jesse sounds like he was a remarkable young boy. in your testimony, i read that the last words he said were run or run now.
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the witnesses are disputing if he said "run" or "run now." and that he was shot -- >> he was shot two times in that was not the fatal shot. he was one of five students in his class killed. 10 of those students survive. it was stated by several surviving student debt jesse yelled "run, run now. >> he was coming -- >> the fatal shot was in his forehead.
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it exited behind the hairline. he looked at adam lanza in the eye. he did not run, he did not turn his back. >> i want to thank you for your courage to be here despite how painful it is. all minnesotans have you and your family and all the families that are here in their prayers and thoughts. we are trying to do what we can do to save lives. i talked about this in my opening statement. imagine this, i imagine
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that. so far in the record, i have not seen one example of an ar-15 used for self-defense. i have been asked to imagine it. to a match in hypothetical situations and i can but i have not heard one example on the record. this is the third hearing. so what we're trying to deal with here is reality. what is real. mayor nutter, as i understand
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it, police are more often targeted by assault weapons than the victims of assault weapons. what is the reality? >> the idea these weapons are for self-defense is based on our experience is of -- complete absurd. they are self offensive weapons. someone come pull out from wherever they want to pull it out from. two weeks ago, a guy came in to rob a store. the owner was in the back. the guide pointed the gun at his wife, pulled off a round andthe
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owner shot the individual with his gun. he did not have an ar-15. from time to time, these things happen. what we see on the streets, when he was shot without assault type weapon, it almost cut him in half. his fellow officers had to drag him and place him in a car and rush him to the hospital. i was in that hospital with his family, holding his wife, talking to his kids. and saying to them, i am sorry, he did not make it. another philadelphia police officer, just finished his tour of duty. 6:00 in the morning, this is an
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armed, trained philadelphia police officer buttwo guys shot him with an automatic weapon. i have to talk to his mother about that. patrick mcdonald, shot multiple times with a weapon with a person standing over him. fortunately, a philadelphia police officer dealt with that situationafter having been shot in the head by that person, not down and jump back up to do with the criminal. that is the reality. this is not theory. this is not a case study. people died. that's what happens. i go to every hospital scene. i have mothers without their sons who serve us. wives without their husbands. that is the reality of what is going on.
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no one has ever been able to explain why a civilian should have is military-style assault weapon and for anything other than the military or law enforcement. i have never heard a legitimate explanation. [applause] >> my thanks to all the witnesses here today for your testimony. dr. begg, my objective and many of my colleagues here today is to show that your mom is right. this time is different. we will do something. the reason is different is that newtown changed america.
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it changed me and you and others here today. mayor nutter, no city can do it alone. our state borders are as well. that is why we have led the effort to stop illegal trafficking because a national standard is required. but has been a lot of debate about statistics and numbers. we do not have enough research on gun violence in this country. part of the reason is opponents of gun violence
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protection have placed restrictive constraints on the research that can be done by federal agencies began collecting and analyzing research about gun violence. research has been barred by restrictions placed by congress. do any of you feel we have enough research and we should not do any more on the issue of gun violence? i am asking whether anybody disagrees we need more research. >> i agree we need more research. this is a public health issue. 30,000 people a year die. the top four reasons -- cancer, heart attack, stroke and trauma. folks who have cancer and stroke and heart attack, there is a lot of research. the data out there is clear.
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if you own a gun, you are five times as likely to die from suicide or to have your partner kill you. we need more research. >> i defended our assault weapon ban in connecticut and won. it was upheld. the vast majority, i did not know of any court in differing with the rulings made by a federal court on the assault weapon ban that existed before 2004, upheld it. do you know of any decision by a district court that strike down an assault weapon ban? >> make a distinction between me pre-heller world and now? >> do you know of any decisions striking it down? >> no.
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do you know of a letter written by 50 constitutional law professors including people like eric posner that say restrictions on the manufacture and sale of high capacity ammunition magazines and assault weapons are also consistent with the second amendment. >> i am aware of that letter and i know many of the folks on that list. but most did not spend more than a couple of hours thinking about this issue. i have spent decades on this. >> let me ask another question. i am sure they would differ on the amount of time is spent thinking about this issue before they signed the letter.
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>> it is about whether they thought this through. with all the respect, in the arguments i have done before the united states supreme court defending state statute and sometimes the action of state officials, the first two propositions out of my mouth where the courts have a responsibility to deem constitutional valid acts of the legislatures. and legislators are not required to solve all the problems at once. they can take incremental steps. i would submit that the rational basis test, whether an assault
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weapon ban and prohibition on high-capacity magazine is rationally related to the end of preventing gun violence is sufficiently established by the testimony we have had here today. a decision by court striking down the statute that has been proposed would be deemed constitutionally incoherent. you have used that word incoherent. >> can i respond? >> you will be given an opportunity to respond but normally in hearings we allow everybody to finish. >> sorry. excuse me. >> you've used incoherent to describe the legislation that has been proposed here. i think that is disrespectful to the committee.
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i think it is plain wrong. if you have suggestions for how to improve its, and this goes for any of the members of this panel, we would welcome it. our ultimate objective is to help save lives. the kind of carnagedescribed so eloquently by mayor that has beennutter and mr. flynn and mr. heslin. as many articles as you and attorney hardy may have written, i do not think you have had the personal experience firsthand of seeing how dangerous these weapons are.
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my hope is perhaps you will be more supportive. and think america is on our side on this issue. america knows this time is different. [applause] >> could i respond? >> yes, you may. >> we are not on different sides. we are all trying to figure out how best to be safe. my explicit testimony referenced the joint service combat shotgun program report. my point was with respect to the incoherence that the claims being made by the committee and others that justified the prohibited category were better descriptions of guns in the non prohibited category. that is the incoherent i am describing. that kind of incoherence, and